Gophers Claim Final Berth in Landmark Playoffs

Gophers Claim Final Berth in Landmark Playoffs

TOWSON, Md. — Goucher claimed the fourth and final berth in the upcoming Landmark Conference postseason tournament today thanks to a 2-0 triumph over Scranton back on October 11.

Here's why: The Gophers and Susquehanna battled through 90 minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute overtimes this afternoon and finished in a 1-1 draw, which left the playoff hopes of head coach Bryan Laut's squad resting on the outcome of the Elizabethtown-Scranton game.

Goucher needed the result between the Blue Jays and Royals to also be a tie, which it turned out to be. That left all three teams with identical 3-3-2 records within the conference. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head and last month's victory over Scranton broke the three-team deadlock in favor of the Gophers, who will travel to the nation's capital this coming Wednesday to battle top-seeded Catholic in the Landmark semifinals.

This will be Goucher's first appearance in the playoffs during the eight-year existence of the Landmark Conference.

"What a great day for Goucher Soccer and especially our seniors!" a beaming Laut commented after the contest. "When the seniors came here four years ago, they took a huge chance in our program. Lucky for us they were as special as they are. They have built this program by epitomizing every important value we have. I could not be any happier for them, and the rest of the team, for making the Landmark Conference playoffs for the first time."

The first half of today's encounter on Beldon Field ended in a scoreless tie. The Gophers got off eight shots in the opening 45 minutes, twice as many as the Crusaders. The starting goalkeepers for each team made two saves.

Midway through the second half, Susquehanna took a 1-0 lead on a goal by David Trank, who drilled a low shot from the top of the box into the lower right corner for his second goal of the season.

Two of the four seniors on Goucher's 2014 roster hooked up on a goal at 74:29 that evened the score at 1-1. The Gophers (8-6-2, 3-3-2 Landmark) were awarded a corner kick, which Lashaw Salta (Allen, Texas/Plano East) lofted into the box where Brandon Weiner (Derwood, Md./Col. Zadok A. Magruder) was able to head it into the left corner.

The goal was Weiner's third of the season and 11th of his career; the assist was Salta's team-leading third of the season.

The Crusaders (4-12-3, 0-7-1 Landmark) got off the only two shots following Weiner's goal before time expired in the second half, as well as all four shots that were attempted in the first 10-minute extra session. Nicholas Stolarz (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson), who went the distance in goal for the Gophers, made one save in the first OT, hiking his total for the game to six.

Each team managed only one shot in the second OT. The first was by Goucher's Nate Margolis (Ivyland, Pa./Council Rock North), another of the seniors playing on Beldon Field for the final time. Susquehanna's Augusto Lima made a play on the ball, picking up his fourth save.

The four seniors, which includes Thomas Adair (Dunkirk, Md./Northern), accounted for nine of Goucher's total of 14 shots.

The final shot of the contest belonged to David Aurand of the Crusaders in the 109th minute and it went wide.

The starting time for Wednesday's semifinal is 2:30 p.m.